Postmodernism and the ’60s

It’s not at all accidental that postmodernism takes its rise in the mid-1960s. Bloom wrote the first draft of the anxiety of influence in 1967, and revised it over several years before its initial publication in 1973. Derrida’s annus miraibilis was 1967, which saw the publication of . . . . Continue Reading »

Murder of Father

Turns out that Harold Bloom’s “anxiety of influence” is just another variation on the same set of themes that Derrida is obsessed with — the son’s murder of the father. For Bloom, the son is the “strong poet” who resists the influence of his . . . . Continue Reading »

Ree on Realism

Jonathan Ree has this to say to the Platonic realist who is afraid of attacks on realism: “you’re worried about being deprived of something that actually you haven’t got, and you wouldn’t know if you had . . . . it’s a chimera, this thing that they’re worried . . . . Continue Reading »

Derrida on Plato’s Dualism

Derrida explains Plato’s dualism as an effort to dominate writing (and, I suppose, reality) by the imposition of organizing contrasts and differences. Words are ambiguous; pharmakon means remedy or poison. Rather than leave this ambiguity lie, and simply follow out the proliferating . . . . Continue Reading »

Wyclif’s Philosophy

Emily Michael in the July 2003 issue of the Journal of the History of Ideas examines the views of John Wyclif on atoms, hylomorphism, and the mind-body problem, and argues that he represented a “first step towards a modern account of the structure of material substances,” but a step . . . . Continue Reading »

Ingraffia and Influences

Rereading the chapter on Derrida in Brian Ingraffia’s Postmodern Theory and Biblical Theology (Cambridge, 1995), I realize just how much my understanding of Derrida was formed by reading this book several years ago. Ingraffia highlights (as I have done in a previous post, erroneously thinking . . . . Continue Reading »

Smith on Derrida

James Smith’s conclusions regarding Derrida express more clearly than I’ve been able to do my own sense of Derrida. These are scattered quotations from The Fall of Interpretation , pp. 127-129: “Derrida is honest about not challenging for a moment Rousseau’s and . . . . Continue Reading »

Another Benefit of Derrida: Because

Another benefit of Derrida: Because he puts philosophical issues in mythological and metaphorical terms, he moves philosophy into the field of theology. As I’ve pointed out in a number of posts, Derrida (following Plato) speaks of the relationship between speaker and speech (or sometimes . . . . Continue Reading »


Well, here’s an interesting coincidence (pointed to by Derrida, still in “Plato’s Pharmacy”): Derrida is discussing the ritual of the pharmakos , which he is connecting to Plato’s various uses of pharmak - words in discussions of knowledge, language, and other issues. . . . . Continue Reading »

Why is Derrida Fun?

What is it that makes Derrida so stimulating and fun to read? At least for his treatment of standard philosophical works (I’m reading “Plato’s Pharmacy” in Disseminations ), I think it’s mainly that he shows that philosophy is not about what undergraduate courses in . . . . Continue Reading »